How Covid-19 Has Changed Housemate Hunting

how Covid-19 has changed housemate hunting
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Screening potential roommates

When Sydney resident Evelyn Bratchford’s roommate tested positive for Covid this week, she was at her boyfriend’s house. Not wanting to go home and risk exposure, she says, “Now I feel like a lost egg.” I showed up at a friend’s house last night with a small bag of stuff from a suitcase in the back seat of my car and my pillow.”

Even without the added stress of a pandemic, screening potential roommates is always a risky job. Since Sydney’s lockdown was lifted late last year, Blatchford has had to find a new home and roommate, so she’s used to the hardships. Blatchford, who lives with two other people, has been at peace in recent months due to coronavirus protocols at her home.

But in view of Christmas, the whole family decided to protect themselves together. “I wanted to be able to leave and I was really aware of what I was doing, as were my roommates,” he says. “We all really knew that in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we just wanted to calm down because things were going astray.”

During self-isolation, there were clear restrictions. While Brutchford is lucky to have like-minded neighbors, Jemima Mowbray, head of policy and advocacy at the NSW Tenant Union, says questions about how much risk people feel at ease have become important in recent months. . “During the period of self-isolation, there were clear restrictions.

how Covid-19 has changed housemate hunting
Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

But now you have to make your own decisions and there is much more to discuss,” says Mowbray. how you live and what you are comfortable with… Covid makes that clear. “Navigating these conversations can be awkward, and asymmetrical attitudes about how safe socialization is can easily increase family tensions. Bratchford admits it can be difficult. tell where the new roommates are, especially if you don’t know them very well.

Search for a new roommate

In their search for a new roommate, the Bratchford family advertised themselves as fully vaccinated, noticing that many generic ads contained this information. Claudia Conley, Community Manager, says: “We have seen many members actively advertise their vaccination status. A large number of real estate ads advertise the desire for a fully vaccinated and safe home for Covid.” Conley also says that the website’s help desks have noticed an increase in members asking if they can select potential candidates based on vaccination status.

But with the rent and bills that need to be paid, having to fill up a room could lessen the importance of Covid safety. Such is the case with University of Brisbane student Hugo, who is currently looking for a roommate. He muses that he should probably ask potential roommates about their attitudes towards Covid-19, but says, “I don’t want to discourage people.” I’m a good person, that’s enough for us.”

Covid-related precautions

Sydney student Emilia Roux finds herself in a similar situation when she tries to leave home for the first time. “Having someone on the same page about Covid is good, but it’s not a headache,” he says. “It’s hard to be picky right now as there are fewer international students and people leaving home, so it’s already hard to find people without the added pressure of Covid-related precautions.” He took a subtle approach.

“Basically I think it’s about watching someone and picking up their signals to see if they’re on the same wavelength. For example, do they wear a mask?”

Mowbray believes that broader real estate pressure has resulted in casualties. “I suspect there were big clashes as people moved and found other accommodations,” he says. “But on the other hand, you may find yourself in a situation where you need housing and staying there is the only option for you.” Brutchford and his family talked about how to deal with Covid if they need to isolate themselves from each other in their home.

“We talked a lot about it and we couldn’t decide what we would do in such a situation.” We joked about that horrible video call from someone’s room after they took the test and got the result, and we didn’t have a plan. “A terrible call came in and Bratchford decided to stay at a friend’s house while her roommate recovers. another roommate who had Covid and was previously isolated as a relative also decided to leave. But the question still remains, says Bratchford: “What are we going to do if I get Covid next month?”

Feature Image by icsilviu from Pixabay

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